Oregano contains the chemical carvacrol, which can be used to reduce blood pressure, scientists have claimed.
The herb, which can be bought from 49p, doesn’t contain sodium – a high blood pressure risk factor.
Having high blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels, as well as vital organs, including the brain, kidneys and eyes.
The condition – also known as hypertension – increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
A 2007 study revealed carvacrol could reduce blood pressure in rats.
The chemical decreased their heart rate and the pressure in their arteries. It also helped to lower both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures, the scientists said.
Oregano could be substituted for salt in meals. Cutting back on salt could help to lower blood pressure, the NHS said.
Three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods, including bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals, it added.
Following the DASH diet could also help to lower blood pressure, scientists revealed last week.
The diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – involves eatings lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
Low-fat or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts were also recommended.
People with the most serious hypertension would benefit more from a low-sodium diet or the DASH diet, than antihypertensive drugs – commonly used medication to treat high blood pressure.
Those most at risk of developing high blood pressure are smokers, those that are overweight, and people that don’t do enough exercise, the NHS said.
The chances of developing hypertension increases as people get older, and not getting enough sleep could increase risk.
High blood pressure symptoms usually don’t show, so it’s important to check blood pressure regularly, the NHS urged.
Blood pressure tests are available at GP surgeries and some pharmacies.